As told to Shahnaaz Khan by Pratibha Agarwal, this story of a supportive husband shows us that without support, a marriage can never reach its full potential. Let’s take a look at how her spouse ended up giving her the courage and motivation she needed to pursue her dreams:
My life always felt scripted. Born and brought up in a small town with a loving family, I was sheltered, protected, and pampered. After college, I married and relocated to a big city to begin afresh, with new hopes of giving and receiving love, and dreams of writing a part of my own life story.
I have always been a people person and found a calling in teaching. My desire to work was not from rebellion but to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, make something of my time. No woman in my family or my husband’s family worked. But I had an itch to do something more.
In the beginning, it didn’t really feel like I had a supportive husband. I always wanted to work and give something back to society, but I wasn’t allowed to, which crushed me. Read on to find out how my husband went from giving my scornful looks to being the supportive partner I always wanted him to be.
When My Once Reluctant Husband Became My Biggest Supporter
It’s difficult to break out of a mold one has grown up loving. My husband was comparatively cooperative initially, but he was not used to seeing women work. When the principal wanted to give me more responsibilities, it put a strain on our relationship. Then I got pregnant, and my aspirations went on the back burner. I had to choose between a baby and a career, It was not a sacrifice. My two sons were my life and nothing else mattered.
My family was my very own universe. But just like our bigger cosmos, this one too needed expanding.
After almost 20 glorious married years and two grown children, I found myself wanting more. The more I thought, the louder the voice within grew. As my kids grew up and things on the home front became more manageable, being the homemaker now did not require as much work.
I now wanted to find more purpose in my being. As I’ve always been the kind to give back to society, I couldn’t just sit at home and let my days go to waste. I now had to pick between being a full-time mother or having a career. Supporting your partner had always been the pinnacle of marriage for me, but I wasn’t too sure if my otherwise supportive partner would wholeheartedly encourage me to make a career.
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How I found a new purpose in life
At first, yoga was a way to deal with these emotions I had of trying to find a deeper purpose. To try and understand them, give me something to do as my nest grew empty and days seemed longer. Soon it grew on me. Unknowingly, I had found a new calling.
I went from taking yoga classes to teaching them. It has been six years now and somehow it seems like a lifetime. Not because the time has seemed tedious, but because the transition has been so smooth. And there is only one person to thank for that, who stood up and stood by while I went about workshops and classes – my supportive spouse.
Pursuing yoga at my age was an exciting discovery, but also one filled with nervousness. I had many questions about how I’d be able to handle this and being a mother. But when support in a relationship is present, there isn’t much you can’t do. We improved communication in our relationship and the rest followed.
I fell in love with yoga. I was always one who was inclined toward teaching and the sense of accomplishment it gave me was hard to find elsewhere. I decided to continue on my journey, but the eventual problems were thrown my way as well.
How my supportive spouse made life easier
The change was not easy, even though his support made it seem so. I remember when I was in Goa for a course and began to feel homesick. My younger son fell ill. I decided I’d had enough and wanted to return. But my husband encouraged me to stay on. “When you have given so much of your time and effort to this, don’t leave it now,” he said, “Stay on and stay strong. I will take care of the house and the children. I am here for you.”
Knowing that I had beside me such rock-solid support and faith in my abilities pushed me to go on and not just complete the course, but take up yoga as a profession. Without my husband’s unwavering backing, I could not have managed this mid-life transition as smoothly and with such confidence. This was the same man who was once apprehensive of me working!
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I was pleasantly surprised and felt so grateful that I had such a supportive husband. In the beginning, because of his rather regressive upbringing, he was not used to seeing women work. He managed to unlearn all those regressive thoughts and gave me the support I needed. We realized that support is one of the characteristics of a good marriage.
I’ve wondered what made him come around to understanding my desire to have a life beyond family. To comprehend that finding a career would not mean sacrificing family time. It has been a long journey of acceptance and faith, for us both. I had faith in him and respected his frame of thought when he wanted me to be home. I did not pull at the string so hard that it snapped. Instead, gave him enough room to know that I accepted his way of thinking because we are a team.
The change may seem sudden. But it was slow and consistent. As I let go, so did he. He saw that I could manage both work and family. And if I fell short, he could compensate. We could both grow as individuals only if we grew as a couple and vice versa.
How you should aim for support in a relationship
To those in similar situations, all I can say is believe in yourself and your relationship. Do not pit one against the other. Nurture what qualities your spouse has. Improve conflict resolution and always aim for support. Marriage is the tree we water every day for years, before one day it suddenly blooms.
When a husband supports his wife, it makes both of them feel that much more powerful and confident in the relationship and in themselves. To all the husbands, supporting your wife will not only make the relationship better but also a more harmonious experience.
My husband is today my rock and the reason I can leave home, travel around the world pursuing my passion, because he understands that work and home are not disparate, but a confluence of my energies, just like our marriage.
We work on things together, in tandem. I write my future with my own words of love, trust, sharing, support, and faith. A few chapters began late because others needed more time. My story isn’t scripted anymore because it isn’t just mine. It’s ours.
If your husband is not emotionally supportive, you need to improve communication with him, tell him of our bare minimum expectations and have the tough conversations with him that you may have been avoiding. Put your foot down and let him know what without support, your marriage will never be as good as it should be.
A supportive relationship will not only improve the quality of your marriage, it will eventually improve your wellbeing in all aspects of your life as well. When you have a pillar of support you can always rely on, you’ll never feel alone in your struggles which will make you more confident to handle the problems life throws at you. A loving, secure, and fulfilling relationship can only be achieved once you both support each other.